You rely on land surveying instruments such as magnetic locators, tripods, and GPS equipment to give your clients accurate measurements of their land. Besides using these instruments correctly, the best way to deliver high-quality assessments is to care for your survey equipment properly. Here are six steps for maintaining your tools’ prime condition.
1. Handle Your Equipment With Care
When they’re treated with caution, land survey tools last for years. However, if you regularly drop your instruments or slam them into hard surfaces, these harsh actions disturb your tools’ calibrations and interior mechanisms. Always pick up, operate, and put down your tools with extreme caution no matter how experienced you become or how rushed you are.
2. Check the Batteries
Some tools, such as chalk markers and tape measures, don’t require batteries, but others that rely on energy, such as metal dectetors and calculators, do. Keep track of how old each device’s batteries are, and replace the batteries before their expiration date. Leaks from lithium batteries are not as damaging as spills from alkaline and other older batteries, but you should still use caution when cleaning up leaks and corrosion.
3. Clean Your Equipment Regularly
Your landscape tools are intended for outdoor use, but that doesn’t mean they should be dirty. After each field excursion, clean your tools thoroughly with soap and water. Ensure that no dirt remains in the bottom of storage cases, and dry each instrument carefully before putting it away. These steps prevent corrosion from dirt and mold growth from moisture.
3. Keep Your Tools in Their Cases
In the middle of a job, it’s tempting to keep all your instruments out so that it’s easy to access them whenever you’re ready to switch. However, when you’re not using your survey equipment, each piece needs to be in its original case. Storing your equipment in the manufacturer’s case ensures that your tools don’t scratch each other and that you don’t lose anything. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your tools getting damaged by sudden intrusions from coworkers, clients, or wildlife.
4. Transport Your Tools With Care
Never put your tools into your car or backpack without their cases, even if there are no visible hazards present. Use seat belts or foam-lined storage boxes to keep your cases stable as you drive, or strap them to the floor with bungee cords. If you hear a strange noise or slam on the brakes, pull over and ensure that all your equipment is still in its proper location.
5. Keep Track of Odds and Ends
Most equipment comes with a variety of odds and ends, such as batteries, cords, chargers, screws, and replacement parts. Bring these items to the field with you, but don’t mix them up as they’re not always interchangeable. Make an inventory of each tool’s spare parts and chargers, and store them properly within the case or a clearly-labeled box.
6. Know When It’s Time To Ask for Help
Some maintenance jobs are very simple, such as cleaning dirt off your laser measurer or replacing your metal locator’s batteries. However, other repair tasks, such as updating a GPS’s software or inspecting an inclinometer’s wiring, require more specialized knowledge. Stay realistic about your abilities and don’t attempt a repair job that’s beyond your skillset. Instead of starting a do-it-yourself repair and causing more damage, reach out to the survey equipment manufacturer for help.
When you properly care for your survey tools, you extend their lifetimes and maintain their effectiveness. Keep these six steps in mind as you operate and clean your equipment, and when you get into a situation that’s beyond your capabilities, send a service request to Engineer Supply.